A manuscript was, any document, written by hand -- or, once practical typewriters became available, typewritten -- as opposed to being mechanically printed or reproduced in some indirect or automated way. More the term has come to be understood to further include any written, typed, or word-processed copy of an author's work, as distinguished from its rendition as a printed version of the same. Before the arrival of printing, all documents and books were manuscripts. Manuscripts are not defined by their contents, which may combine writing with mathematical calculations, explanatory figures or illustrations. Manuscripts may be in codex format. Illuminated manuscripts are enriched with pictures, border decorations, elaborately embossed initial letters or full-page illustrations. A document should be at least 75 years old to be considered a manuscript; the traditional abbreviations are MS for manuscript and MSS for manuscripts, while the forms MS. ms or ms. for singular, MSS. mss or mss. for plural are accepted.
The second s is not the plural. Before the invention of woodblock printing in China or by moveable type in a printing press in Europe, all written documents had to be both produced and reproduced by hand. Manuscripts were produced in form of scrolls or books. Manuscripts were produced on vellum and other parchment, on papyrus, on paper. In Russia birch bark documents as old as from the 11th century have survived. In India, the palm leaf manuscript, with a distinctive long rectangular shape, was used from ancient times until the 19th century. Paper spread from China via the Islamic world to Europe by the 14th century, by the late 15th century had replaced parchment for many purposes; when Greek or Latin works were published, numerous professional copies were made by scribes in a scriptorium, each making a single copy from an original, declaimed aloud. The oldest written manuscripts have been preserved by the perfect dryness of their Middle Eastern resting places, whether placed within sarcophagi in Egyptian tombs, or reused as mummy-wrappings, discarded in the middens of Oxyrhynchus or secreted for safe-keeping in jars and buried or stored in dry caves.
Manuscripts in Tocharian languages, written on palm leaves, survived in desert burials in the Tarim Basin of Central Asia. Volcanic ash preserved some of the Roman library of the Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum; the manuscripts that were being most preserved in the libraries of antiquity are all lost. Papyrus has a life of at most a century or two in moist Italian or Greek conditions. All books were in manuscript form. In China, other parts of East Asia, woodblock printing was used for books from about the 7th century; the earliest dated example is the Diamond Sutra of 868. In the Islamic world and the West, all books were in manuscript until the introduction of movable type printing in about 1450. Manuscript copying of books continued for a least a century. Private or government documents remained hand-written until the invention of the typewriter in the late 19th century; because of the likelihood of errors being introduced each time a manuscript was copied, the filiation of different versions of the same text is a fundamental part of the study and criticism of all texts that have been transmitted in manuscript.
In Southeast Asia, in the first millennium, documents of sufficiently great importance were inscribed on soft metallic sheets such as copperplate, softened by refiner's fire and inscribed with a metal stylus. In the Philippines, for example, as early as 900AD, specimen documents were not inscribed by stylus, but were punched much like the style of today's dot-matrix printers; this type of document was rare compared to the usual leaves and bamboo staves. However, neither the leaves nor paper were as durable as the metal document in the hot, humid climate. In Burma, the kammavaca, Buddhist manuscripts, were inscribed on brass, copper or ivory sheets, on discarded monk robes folded and lacquered. In Italy some important Etruscan texts were inscribed on thin gold plates: similar sheets have been discovered in Bulgaria. Technically, these are all inscriptions rather than manuscripts; the study of the writing, or "hand" in surviving manuscripts is termed palaeography. In the Western world, from the classical period through the early centuries of the Christian era, manuscripts were written without spaces between the words, which makes them hard for the untrained to read.
Extant copies of these early manuscripts written in Greek or Latin and dating from the 4th century to the 8th century, are classified according to their use of either all upper case or all lower case letters. Hebrew manuscripts, such as the Dead Sea scrolls make no such differentiation. Manuscripts using all upper case letters are called majuscule, those using all lower case are called minuscule; the majuscule scripts such as uncial are written with much more care. The scribe lifted his pen between each stroke, producing an unmistakable effect of regularity and formality. On the other hand, while minuscule scripts can be written with pen-lift, they may be cursive, that is, use little or no pen-lift
Lebor Gabála Érenn
Lebor Gabála Érenn is a collection of poems and prose narratives that purports to be a history of Ireland and the Irish from the creation of the world to the Middle Ages. There are a number of versions, the earliest of, compiled by an anonymous writer in the 11th century, it synthesized narratives, developing over the foregoing centuries. The Lebor Gabála tells of Ireland being settled six times by six groups of people: the people of Cessair, the people of Partholón, the people of Nemed, the Fir Bolg, the Tuatha Dé Danann, the Milesians; the first four groups are wiped out or forced to abandon the island, the fifth group represent Ireland's pagan gods, while the final group represent the Irish people. Today, most scholars regard the Lebor Gabála as myth rather than history, it appears to be based on medieval Christian pseudo-histories, but it incorporates some of Ireland's native pagan mythology. Scholars believe the goal of its writers was to provide an epic history for Ireland that could compare to that of the Israelites or the Romans, which reconciled native myth with the Christian view of history.
It is suggested, for example, that there are six'takings' to match the "Six Ages of the World". Lebor Gabála Érenn is considered a "highly influential Middle Irish prose-and-verse treatise written in order to bridge the chasm between Christian world-chronology and the prehistory of Ireland"; the Lebor Gabála is known in English as The Book of Invasions or The Book of Conquests, in Modern Irish as Leabhar Gabhála Éireann or Leabhar Gabhála na hÉireann. Purporting to be a history of Ireland and the Irish, a critical analysis by Thomas F O'Rahilly claims the purpose of Lebor Gabála Érenn was three-fold: firstly to unite the population by obliterating the memory of previous and different ethnic groups, secondly to weaken the influence of pre-Christian pagan religions by converting their gods into mere mortals, thirdly to manufacture pedigrees into which the various dynastic groups could conveniently be fitted It has been described as an attempt to provide the Irish with a written history comparable to that which the Israelites provided for themselves in the Old Testament.
Drawing upon the pagan myths of Gaelic Ireland but reinterpreting them in the light of Judeo-Christian theology and historiography, it describes how the island was settled six times by six groups of people. Biblical paradigms provided the mythologers with ready-made stories which could be adapted to their purpose, thus we find the ancestors of the Irish enslaved in a foreign land, or fleeing into exile, or wandering in the wilderness, or sighting the "Promised Land" from afar. Four Christian works in particular seem to have had a significant bearing on the formation of LGE: St Augustine's De Civitate Dei, The City of God, Orosius's Historiae adversum paganos, "Histories," Eusebius's Chronicon, translated into Latin by St Jerome as the Temporum liber Isidore of Seville's Etymologiae, or Origines The pre-Christian elements, were never effaced. One of the poems in LGE, for instance, recounts how goddesses from among the Tuatha Dé Danann took husbands from the Gaeil when they'invaded' and'colonised' Ireland.
Furthermore, the pattern of successive invasions which LGE preserves is reminiscent of Timagenes of Alexandria's account of the origins of the Gauls of continental Europe. Cited by the 4th-century historian Ammianus Marcellinus, Timagenes describes how the ancestors of the Gauls were driven from their native lands in eastern Europe by a succession of wars and floods. Numerous fragments of Ireland's mythological history are scattered throughout the 7th and 8th centuries. In his Lectures on the Manuscript Materials of Ancient Irish History, Eugene O'Curry, Professor of Irish History and Archaeology at the Catholic University of Ireland, discusses various genres of historical tales mentioned in the manuscripts: The Tochomladh was an Immigration or arrival of a Colony, it is from the original records of these ancient stories that the early part of the various Books of Invasions has been compiled. The earliest extant account of the purported history of Ireland is to be found in the Historia Brittonum or "History of the Britons,", once thought to have been written by the Welsh priest Nennius in 829–830.
This text gives two separate accounts of early Irish history. The first consists of a series of successive colonisations from Iberia by the pre-Gaelic peoples of Ireland, all of which found their way into LGE; the second recounts the origins of the Gaeil themselves, tells how they in turn came to be the masters of the country and'ancestors' of all the Irish. These two stories continued to be enriched and elaborated upon by Irish historian-poets throughout the 9th century. In the 10th and 11th centuries, several long historical poems were written that were incorporated into the scheme of LGE. Most of the poems on which the 11th-12th century version of LGE was based were written by the following four poets: Eochaidh Ua Floinn from Armagh – Poems 30, 41, 53, 65, 98, 109, 111 Flann Mainistrech mac Echthigrin and historian of Monasterboice Abbey – Poems?42, 56, 67,?82 Tanaide – Poems 47, 54, 86 Gilla Cómáin mac Gilla Samthainde – Poems 13, 96, 115It was late in the 11th century that a single anonymous scholar appears to have brought together these and numerous other poems and fitted the
Book of Lismore
The Book of Lismore is a Medieval Irish manuscript. It was so named by Dennis O'Flynn, a historian in Cork, to whom it had been given in 1815. Eugene O'Curry blamed O'Flynn, in 1855, for splitting the book into parts and selling them off separately to collectors; the Book of Lismore is an Irish vellum manuscript, compiled in early 15th century, Ireland. Its original name was Leabhar Mhic Cárthaigh Riabhaigh, it should not be confused with the named Book of the Dean of Lismore, a Scottish manuscript from the 16th century. It was commissioned by Finghin MacCarthy Reagh, 8th Prince of Carbery and his wife Lady Catherine, daughter of Thomas FitzGerald, 7th Earl of Desmond; the manuscript was compiled from the early, lost, Book of Monasterboice as well as other manuscripts. The Book of Lismore contains a variation of themes. Part of the book references the lives of Irish saints, notably, St Brigid, St Patrick, St Columba; the Book of Lismore contains Acallam na Senórach, a most important Middle Irish narrative dating to the 12th century, a text pertaining to the Fenian Cycle.
The book contains Leabhar Ser Marco Polo, an Irish translation of The Book of Sir Marco Polo, or Il Milione. Some ninety per cent of the script is by an unknown scribe. About twelve folios were by Aonghas Ó Callanáin, from a local medical family; some other brief insertions were by unknown hands. Some of the pages and text of the book became mislaid to scholarly pursuit soon after its discovery in 1814, but it is believed that copies of these pages still survive in scholarly articles written in the 19th century; the Book of Lismore has been digitised for the Irish Script On Screen project and is available, with a catalogue description by Pádraig Ó Macháin, on the project website. Hagiographic textsBetha Shenáin meic Geirginn Short text on Saint Molaise, called "Molaisse und seine Schwester"Prose narrativesAcallam Bec Echtra Loegairi meic Crimthainn from the Book of Lismore, at Thesaurus Linguae Hibernicae Airne Fíngein. Available at Thesaurus Linguae Hibernicae Tromdám Guaire Translations from European Latin texts.
Lives of saints, from the Book of Lismore. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1890. Scans available from the Internet Archive and a transcription of the edition from CELT. Breatnach, Caoimhín. "Lismore, Book of." In Medieval Ireland: An Encyclopedia, ed. Seán Duffy. New York and London: Routledge, 2005. Pp. 270–80. Macalister, R. A. S; the Book of Lismore. Facsimile with introduction. Dublin: Irish Manuscripts Commission, 1950. Facsimile edition. Ó Cuív, Brian. "Observations on the Book of Lismore". Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. 83C: 269–292. JSTOR 25506104. Ó Murchadha, Family Names of County Cork. Cork: The Collins Press. 2nd edition, 1996. P. 54 http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/features/2011/0708/1224300294060.html http://www.maryjones.us/jce/lismore.html http://lismoreheritagecentre.blogspot.com/2010/02/book-of-lismore-introduction-by-donald.html http://www.medievalarchives.com/tag/book-of-lismore https://www.isos.dias.ie/libraries/CHATSWORTH/english/index.html
Book of Leinster
The Book of Leinster, is a medieval Irish manuscript compiled ca. 1160 and now kept in Trinity College, under the shelfmark MS H 2.18. It was known as the Lebor na Nuachongbála "Book of Nuachongbáil", a monastic site known today as Oughaval; some fragments of the book, such as the Martyrology of Tallaght, are now in the collection of University College, Dublin. The manuscript is a composite work and more than one hand appears to have been responsible for its production; the principal compiler and scribe was Áed Ua Crimthainn, abbot of the monastery of Tír-Dá-Glas on the Shannon, now Terryglass, the last abbot of that house for whom we have any record. Internal evidence from the manuscript itself bears witness to Áed's involvement, his signature can be read on f. 32r: Aed mac meic Crimthaind ro scrib in leborso 7 ra thinoil a llebraib imdaib. In a letter copied by a hand into a bottom margin, the bishop of Kildare, Finn mac Gormáin, addresses him as a man of learning of the high-king of Leth Moga, the coarb of Colum mac Crimthainn, the chief scholar of Leinster.
An alternative theory was that by Eugene O'Curry, who suggested that Finn mac Gormáin transcribed or compiled the Book of Leinster for Áed. The manuscript was produced by Aéd and some of his pupils over a long period between 1151 and 1224. From annals recorded in the manuscript we can say it was written between 1151 and 1201, with the bulk of the work complete in the 1160s; as Terryglass was burnt down in 1164, the manuscript must have been finalised in another scriptorium. Suggested locations include the home of Uí Chrimthainn. Eugene O'Curry suggested that the manuscript may have been commissioned by Diarmait Mac Murchada, king of Leinster, who had a stronghold in Dún Másc, near Oughaval. Dún Másc passed from Diarmait Mac Murchada to Strongbow, from Strongbow to his daughter Isabel, from Isabel to the Marshal Earls of Pembroke and from there, down several generations through their line; when Meiler fitz Henry established an Augustinian priory in Co. Laois, Oughaval was included in the lands granted to the priory.
Nothing certain is known of the manuscript's whereabouts in the next century or so after its completion, but in the 14th century, it came to light at Oughaval. It may have been kept in the vicarage in the intervening years; the Book of Leinster owes its present name to John O'Donovan, who coined it on account of the strong associations of its textual contents with the province of Leinster, to Robert Atkinson, who adopted it when he published the lithographic facsimile edition. However, it is now accepted that the manuscript was known as the Lebor na Nuachongbála, the "Book of Noghoval", now Oughaval, near Stradbally; this was established by R. I. Best, who observed that several short passages from the Book of Leinster are cited in an early 17th-century manuscript written by Sir James Ware, found today under the shelfmark London, British Library, Add. MS 4821; these extracts are attributed to the "Book of Noghoval" and were written at a time when Ware stayed at Ballina, enjoying the hospitality of Rory O'Moore.
His family, the O'Moores, had been lords of Noghoval since the early 15th century if not earlier, it was with their help that he obtained access to the manuscript. The case for identification with the manuscript now known as the Book of Leinster is suggested by the connection of Rory's family to the Uí Chrimthainn, coarbs of Terryglass: his grandfather had a mortgage on Clonenagh, the home of Uí Chrimthainn. Best's suggestion is corroborated by evidence from Royal Irish Academy MS B. iv. 2 of the early 17th century. As Rudolf Thurneysen noted, the scribe copied several texts from the Book of Leinster, identifying his source as the "Leabhar na h-Uachongbála" for Leabhar na Nuachongbála. Third, in the 14th century, the Book of Leinster was located at Stradbally, the place of a monastery known as Nuachongbáil "of the new settlement" and as Oughaval; the manuscript has 187 leaves, each 13" by 9". A note in the manuscript suggests; the book, a wide-ranging compilation, is one of the most important sources of medieval Irish literature and mythology, among many others, texts such as Lebor Gabála Érenn, the most complete version of Táin Bó Cuailnge, the Metrical Dindshenchas and an Irish translation/adaptation of the De excidio Troiae Historia, before its separation from the main volume, the Martyrology of Tallaght.
A diplomatic edition was published by the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies in six volumes over a period of 29 years. Atkinson, Robert; the Book of Leinster, sometimes called the Book of Glendalough. Dublin, 1880. 1-374. Facsimile edition. Book of Leinster, ed. R. I. Best. A. O'Brien; the Book of Leinster Lebar na Núachongbála. 6 vols. Dublin: DIAS. Available from CELT: vols. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Diplomatic edition. Hellmuth, Petra S.. "Lebor Laignech". In Koch, John T. Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara and Oxford: ABC-CLIO. Pp. 1125–6. Ní Bhrolcháin, Muireann. "Leinster, Book of". In Seán Duffy. Medieva
The monastery of Clonmacnoise (Cluain Mhic Nóis in Irish, meaning "Meadow of the Sons of Nós", is situated in County Offaly, Ireland on the River Shannon south of Athlone. Clonmacnoise was founded in 544 by St. Ciarán, a young man from Rathcroghan, County Roscommon.. Until the 9th century it had close associations with the kings of Connacht; the strategic location of the monastery helped it become a major centre of religion, learning and trade by the 9th century and together with Clonard it was the most famous in Ireland, visited by scholars from all over Europe. From the ninth until the eleventh century it was allied with the kings of Meath. Many of the high kings of Tara and Connacht were buried here; the preserved ruin is managed by the Office of Public Works. An Interpretive Centre is open to the public, the graveyard is in use and religious services are held in a modern chapel. Shortly after his arrival with seven companions – at the point where the major east–west land route through the bogs of central Ireland along the Eiscir Riada, an esker left by the receding glaciers of the last ice age crossed the River Shannon – Saint Ciarán met Diarmait Uí Cerbaill who helped him build the first church at the site.
This was the first of many small churches to be clustered on the site. Diarmuid was to be the first Christian crowned High King of Ireland. In September 549, not yet thirty-three years of age, Ciarán died of a plague, was buried under the original wooden church, now the site of the 9th-century stone oratory, Temple Ciarán. According to Adomnan of Iona, who referenced the testimony of earlier abbots of Iona who had known Columba, St Columba visited the monastery at Clonmacnoise during the time when he was founding the monastery at Durrow. While he was there he prophesied about the future debates in the churches of Ireland about the dating of Easter and claimed that angels had visited the monastery at Clonmacnoise. While he was there, there was a young monk named Ernéne mac Craséni who tried to touch Columba's clothes while Columba was not looking, but the saint noticed and grabbed the boy by the neck, told him to open his mouth and he blessed him, saying that he would teach the doctrine of salvation.
Towards the close of the seventh century a plague carried off a large number of its students and professors. Clonmacnoise's period of greatest growth came between the 12th centuries, it was attacked during these four centuries the Irish, the Vikings and Normans. The early wooden buildings began to be replaced by more durable stone structures in the 9th century, the original population of fewer than ten men grew to 1,500 to 2,000 by the 11th century. Although the site was based around a core of churches, crosses and ecclesiastical dwellings and workshops, it would have been surrounded by the houses and streets of a larger secular community, the metalworkers and farmers who supported the monastic clergy and their students. Artisans associated with the site created some of the most beautiful and enduring artworks in metal and stone seen in Ireland, with the Clonmacnoise Crozier and the Cross of the Scriptures representing the apex of their efforts; the Book of the Dun Cow a vellum manuscript dating to the 12th century, was written here and its main compiler, Máel Muire mac Céilechair meic Cuinn na mBocht reputedly murdered in a Viking raid in 1106.
By the 12th century Clonmacnoise began to decline. The reasons were varied, but without doubt the most debilitating factor was the growth of the town of Athlone to the north of the site from the late-12th century. Athlone became the main trading town for the midlands of Ireland, the most popular route for crossing the Shannon, as well as the best-defended settlement in the region. People migrated north from Clonmacnoise to Athlone, with the fall in population went much of the support that the site needed to survive, former allies began to recognise the decline in the site's influence; the influx of continental religious orders such as the Franciscans, Benedictines, etc. around the same time fed into this decline as numerous competing sites began to crop up. Ireland's move from a monastic framework to a diocesan one in the twelfth century diminished the site's religious standing, as it was designated the seat of a small and impoverished diocese. In 1552 the English garrison at Athlone destroyed and looted Clonmacnoise for the final time, leaving it in ruins.
The monastery ruins were one of the stops on the itinerary of Pope John Paul II during his visit to Ireland in 1979. The site includes the ruins of a cathedral, seven churches, two round towers, three high crosses and a large collection of Early Christian graveslabs. Most of the churches have undergone comprehensive conservation works re-pointing, with the Nun's Church under wraps while it too undergoes the same process. O'Rourke's Tower: Though named O'Rourkes' Tower, after 10th-century Connacht king Fergal O'Rourke, the Chronicum Scotorum records that it was finished in 1124 by Turlough O'Connor, king of Connacht, Gilla Christ Ua Maoileoin, abbot of Clonmacnoise. 11 years it was struck by lightning which knocked off the head of the tower. The upper part of the tower is work, so there is some speculation that the masonry thus toppled in the storm of 1135 may have been reused in the building of McCarthy's Tower. Temple Finghín & McCarthy's Tower: Romanesque church and round tower – 12th century.
An unusual occurrence w
Middle Irish is the Goidelic language, spoken in Ireland, most of Scotland and the Isle of Man from circa 900–1200 AD. The modern Goidelic languages—Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Manx—are all descendants of Middle Irish; the Lebor Bretnach, the "Irish Nennius", survives only from manuscripts preserved in Ireland. Middle Irish is a VSO, nominative-accusative language. Nouns decline for two genders: masculine, though traces of neuter declension persist. Adjectives agree with nouns in gender and case. Verbs conjugate for three tenses: past, future. Verbs conjugate for an impersonal, agentless form. There are a number of preverbal particles marking the negative, subjunctive, relative clauses, etc. Prepositions inflect for number. Different prepositions govern different cases, depending on intended semantics; the following is a poem in Middle Irish about King of Connacht. Dún Eogain Bél forsind loch forsrala ilar tréntroch, ní mair Eogan forsind múr ocus maraid in sendún. Maraid inad a thige irraibe' na chrólige, ní mair in rígan re cair nobíd.
Cairptech in rí robúi and, innsaigthech oirgnech Érenn, ní dechaid coll cána ar goil, rocroch tríchait im óenboin. Roloisc Life co ba shecht, rooirg Mumain tríchait fecht, nír dál do Leith Núadat nair co nár dámair immarbáig. Doluid fecht im-Mumain móir do chuinchid argait is óir, d’iaraid sét ocus móine do gabail gíall dagdóine. Trían a shlúaig dar Lúachair síar co Cnoc mBrénainn isin slíab, a trían aile úad fo dess co Carn Húi Néit na n-éces. Sé fodéin oc Druimm Abrat co trían a shlúaig, nísdermat, oc loscud Muman maisse, ba subach don degaisse. Atchím a chomarba ind ríg a mét dorigne d’anfhír, nenaid ocus tromm ’malle, conid é fonn a dúine. Dún Eogain. MacManus, Damian. "A chronology of the Latin loan words in early Irish". Ériu. 34: 21–71. McCone, Kim. "The dative singular of Old Irish consonant stems". Ériu. 29: 26–38. McCone, Kim. "Final /t/ to /d/ after unstressed vowels, an Old Irish sound law". Ériu. 31: 29–44. McCone, Kim. "Prehistoric and Middle Irish". Progress in medieval Irish studies. Pp. 7–53.
McCone, Kim. A First Old Irish Reader, Including an Introduction to Middle Irish. Maynooth Medieval Irish Texts 3. Maynooth. Dictionary of the Irish Language
James II of England
James II and VII was King of England and Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685 until he was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. The last Roman Catholic monarch of England and Ireland, his reign is now remembered for struggles over religious tolerance. However, it involved the principles of absolutism and divine right of kings and his deposition ended a century of political and civil strife by confirming the primacy of Parliament over the Crown. James inherited the thrones of England and Scotland with widespread support in all three countries based on the principle of divine right or birth. Tolerance for his personal Catholicism did not apply to it in general and when the English and Scottish Parliaments refused to pass his measures, James attempted to impose them by decree. In June 1688, two events turned dissent into a crisis; the second was the prosecution of the Seven Bishops for seditious libel. Anti-Catholic riots in England and Scotland now made it seem only his removal as monarch could prevent a civil war.
Representatives of the English political elite invited William to assume the English throne. In February 1689, Parliament held he had'vacated' the English throne and installed William and Mary as joint monarchs, establishing the principle that sovereignty derived from Parliament, not birth. James landed in Ireland on 14 March 1689 in an attempt to recover his kingdoms but despite a simultaneous rising in Scotland, in April a Scottish Convention followed their English colleagues by ruling James had'forfeited' the throne and offered it to William and Mary. After defeat at the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690, James returned to France where he spent the rest of his life in exile at Saint-Germain, protected by Louis XIV. James, the second surviving son of King Charles I and his wife, Henrietta Maria of France, was born at St James's Palace in London on 14 October 1633; that same year, he was baptised by William Laud, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury. He was educated by private tutors, along with his older brother, the future King Charles II, the two sons of the Duke of Buckingham and Francis Villiers.
At the age of three, James was appointed Lord High Admiral. He was designated Duke of York at birth, invested with the Order of the Garter in 1642, formally created Duke of York in January 1644; the King's disputes with the English Parliament grew into the English Civil War. James accompanied his father at the Battle of Edgehill, where he narrowly escaped capture by the Parliamentary army, he subsequently stayed in Oxford, the chief Royalist stronghold, where he was made a M. A. by the University on 1 November 1642 and served as colonel of a volunteer regiment of foot. When the city surrendered after the siege of Oxford in 1646, Parliamentary leaders ordered the Duke of York to be confined in St James's Palace. Disguised as a woman, he escaped from the Palace in 1648 with the help of Joseph Bampfield, crossed the North Sea to The Hague; when Charles I was executed by the rebels in 1649, monarchists proclaimed James's older brother king as Charles II of England. Charles II was recognised as king by the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of Ireland, was crowned King of Scotland at Scone in 1651.
Although he was proclaimed King in Jersey, Charles was unable to secure the crown of England and fled to France and exile. Like his brother, James sought refuge in France, serving in the French army under Turenne against the Fronde, against their Spanish allies. In the French army James had his first true experience of battle where, according to one observer, he "ventures himself and chargeth gallantly where anything is to be done". Turenne's favour led to James being given command of a captured Irish regiment in December 1652, being appointed Lieutenant-General in 1654. In the meantime, Charles was attempting to reclaim his throne, but France, although hosting the exiles, had allied itself with Oliver Cromwell. In 1656, Charles turned instead to Spain – an enemy of France – for support, an alliance was made. In consequence, James was forced to leave Turenne's army. James quarrelled with his brother over the diplomatic choice of Spain over France. Exiled and poor, there was little that either Charles or James could do about the wider political situation, James travelled to Bruges and joined the Spanish army under Louis, Prince of Condé in Flanders, where he was given command as Captain-General of six regiments of British volunteers and fought against his former French comrades at the Battle of the Dunes.
During his service in the Spanish army, James became friendly with two Irish Catholic brothers in the Royalist entourage and Richard Talbot, became somewhat estranged from his brother's Anglican advisers. In 1659, the French and Spanish made peace. James, doubtful of his brother's chances of regaining the throne, considered taking a Spanish offer to be an admiral in their navy, he declined the position.